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Alaska vs. the lower 48

Glaciers surround the Prince William Sound on the south coast of Alaska. Photo by Mike Fritz, PBS NewsHour.

This week, PBS NewsHour, in collaboration with the Seattle Times and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, is rolling out a series of stories looking at the impact climate change has had on Alaska’s economy, wildlife and ice. While reporting from places like Barrow and Kodiak, we got a sense of just how big the state is. In terms of area, it’s the equivalent to more than a fifth of the continental states.

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With more than 47,300 miles of chilly ocean shoreline near the top of the world, some consider the effects of global warming around Alaska the “canary in the coal mine” for the impact of climate change.

“A modest amount of global warming actually accelerates the changes going on in the Arctic itself,” said Dr. James Overland, an oceanographer at NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle.

Stay tuned for the rest of our series. The first of three broadcast reports airs Monday night — melting ice in the waters of the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.

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Read more reporting on our Coping with Climate Change homepage.

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